15 INCREDIBLE WEEKEND TRIPS FROM LAS VEGAS
article from: localadventurer.com
Looking for a weekend getaway from Las Vegas? Here are 15 great spots to go.
There are 52 weekends out of the year. How are you going to spend them?
Whenever we go tell people our list of cities we’ve lived in, Las Vegas always catches people’s attention. Most people don’t realize Vegas is a great home base to get to the Utah parks and an easy drive to many destinations in California.
If you’re tired of hanging out at the Strip, within a few hours, you can be at some of the most amazing landscapes the US has to offer.
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Last Updated: March 23, 2023
15 INCREDIBLE WEEKEND TRIPS FROM LAS VEGAS
1. JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA →
6554 Park Blvd, Joshua Tree, CA 92252, map
Distance: 187 mi / 3 hrs 5 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Arch Rock, Cholla Cactus Garden, Keys View
What to Eat: Crossroads, JT Country Kitchen, Joshua Tree Coffee Co
Where to Stay: Find Joshua Tree Hotel Deals
Joshua Tree National Park is one of our favorite places to visit, and probably the spot we visit the most. The sunsets are unforgettable and if you rock climb, it’s a giant playground.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a unique way to explore some of these spots, you can rent a campervan from Travellers Autobarn. We’ve seen them out on the road and can’t wait to try one for ourselves.
See More: 11 Amazing Things to Do in Joshua Tree National Park CA
2. BIG BEAR, CALIFORNIA →
40971 North Shore Drive/Hwy 38, Fawnskin, CA 92333, map
Distance: 213 mi / 3 hrs 27 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Big Bear Discovery Center, Boulder Bay Park, Big Bear Alpine Zoo
What to Eat: Teddy Bear Restaurant, Grizzly Manor Cafe, Tropicali
Where to Stay: Find Hotels and Rentals in Big Bear
Big Bear Lake offers something for the whole family. You can visit in the winter to hit the slopes or in the summer for water activities and hiking. We only had a chance to spend two days in the area during our last visit at the turn of the season, but can’t wait to hike and snowboard.
3. HAVASUPAI TRAILHEAD, SUPAI, ARIZONA →
Supai, AZ 86435, map
Distance: 225 mi / 3 hrs 50 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Little Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls
What to Eat: Pack Food In
Where to Stay: Camping or Lodges
If you’re lucky enough to snag permits to visit Havasupai Falls, you absolutely should do it. The brilliant turquoise falls backdropped by the rich, red rocks is worth the trek. Check out our posts on How to get Havasupai Falls Reservations/Permits, Packing Guide, and Photo Diaries of Day 1 and Day 2 of our hike.
4. FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA
1 E Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, map
Distance: 254 mi / 3 hrs 50 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Walnut Canyon National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, Lava River Cave
What to Eat: Fat Olives, Satchmo’s, Shift Kitchen & Bar
Where to Stay: Hotels in Flagstaff
If you love the outdoors but want the comforts of a city, Flagstaff is a great place to head for the weekend. There is plenty to keep you active, but also great restaurants and culture in town.
5. BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK, UTAH →
UT-63, Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764, map
Distance: 260 mi / 3 h 57 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Navajo Loop Trail
What to Eat: Idk BBQ, Stone Hearth Grille, Route 12 Grill
Where to Stay: Find Hotels near Bryce Canyon
Bryce has some of the most beautiful hoodoos you’ll ever find. It’s a relatively small park that you can drive through and see all the pullouts, but you can also spend a weekend there to hike and explore deeper into the park.
6. GRAND STAIRCASE-ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT, UTAH
Distance: 214 mi / 3 h 20 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Calf Creek Falls, Devil’s Garden, Zebra Slot Canyon, Peekaboo Gulch & Golden Cathedral
What to Eat: Burr Trail Grill, Escalante Outfitters, BirdHouse
Where to Stay: Find Nearby Hotel Deals
You can easily drive by or through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument without even realizing it. It’s roughly the size of Delaware close to Kanab. We drove through as much of it as we could on a weekend trip and did the hike to Zebra Slot Canyon and Toadstool Hoodoo.
7. VERMILION CLIFFS NATIONAL MONUMENT, ARIZONA →
Distance: 187 mi / 3 h 37 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Coyote Buttes North (the Wave), White Pocket, Coyote Buttes South, Paria Canyon
What to Eat: Big John’s Texas BBQ, El Tapatio, Sunset 89
Where to Stay: Search for Hotel Deals
The most well-known portion of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is the Wave, but it’s also one of the hardest to permits to get in the world. That shouldn’t stop you from exploring other parts of the area full of unique rock formations, beautiful canyons, and towering cliffs. Our favorite alternative to the Wave is White Pocket.
See More: How to Get the Wave Permit in Arizona
8. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA →
453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, map
Distance: 270 mi / 3 hrs 55 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Griffith Observatory, Venice Beach, Silver Lake
What to Eat: 49 Fave Places to Eat in LA
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in LA
If you’re visiting Los Angeles for the weekend, we recommend focusing on an area of LA or a category of what you love to do or you can easily get overwhelmed by the endless options of things to eat, see, and do. You can spend all week eating delicious food, seeing all the museums, visiting the beaches, or even snapping photos at all the popular Instagram spots. Just know you’ll probably be back.
See More: 101 Things To Do in LA
9. GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, ARIZONA →
Distance: 253 mi / 4 h 15 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Mather Point, Bright Angel Point, Grandview Point
What to Eat: El Tavor Lodge Dining Room, Big E Streakhouse & Saloon, We Cook Pizza & Pasta
Where to Stay: Look for Hotels in Grand Canyon
You have to visit the Grand Canyon at least once in your life. It really lives up to its name and is absolutely massive. If you don’t have a weekend, you can always visit the Grand Canyon via a helicopter tour.
Don’t want to worry about the drive? Check out Max Tour and visit multiple spots. We went on the 2 Day Grand Canyon Antelope Canyon Tour and it was a really great experience. They pick you up on the strip and in two days, they pack in a lot. We saw the Grand Canyon at sunrise, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Route 66, and Hoover Dam.
See More: 17 Breathtaking Things to Do at the Grand Canyon National Park
10. PAGE, ARIZONA
5 S Lake Powell Blvd Unit 3, Page, AZ 86040, map
Distance: 272 mi / 4 h 15 min (map)
What to Do / See: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, The Wave
What to Eat: BirdHouse, Sunset 89, El Tapatio
Where to Stay: Book a Hotel in Page
Page, Arizona is a small town that doesn’t seem like much if you’re driving through it, but it makes the perfect home base to explore some of the SouthWest’s best outdoor scenery. Some famous spots nearby include Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and of course, the Wave.
Same as above, Max Tour lets you see Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and so much more. It was nice not having to worry about any of the details and just showing up to enjoy each viewpoint.
See More: Your Complete Antelope Canyon Guide
11. SEDONA, ARIZONA
331 Forest Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336, map
Distance: 275 mi / 4 h 23 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Chapel of the Holy Cross, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Oak Creek Canyon & Devil’s Bridge Trail, Slide Rock State Park
What to Eat: The Hudson, Hideaway House, Elote Cafe
Where to Stay: Hotel Deals in Sedona
Sedona is a great spot for a weekend trip. There are so many great hikes where you surround yourself with beautiful rock formations, and at the end of the day, you can treat yourself to a spa and a great meal. We definitely plan on visiting this year.
12. GREAT BASIN NATIONAL PARK, NEVADA →
National Park, 100 Great Basin, Baker, NV 89311, map
Distance: 296 mi / 4 h 29 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Lehman Caves, Bristlecone Pines, Wheeler Peak
What to Eat: Great Basin Cafe, Sugar Salt & Malt, The Baker’s Bean
Where to Stay: Book a Hotel in Baker
Great Basin National Park is a great place to stargaze, explore caves, and hang out with some of the oldest trees in the world. You can read more about it on our Ultimate Guide to Great Basin National Park.
13. MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIFORNIA
2510 Main St, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546, map
Distance:308 mi / 5 h 8 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Devils Postpile Nationa Monument, Horseshoe Lake, Rainbow Falls
What to Eat: Noodle-Ly, The Warming Hut, Mammoth Rock Brasserie
Where to Stay: Book a Hotel in Mammoth Lakes
Mammoth Lakes is most popular during the winter when skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes, but if you want to avoid the crowds, visit during the summer and explore the mountains via hiking and biking trails.
14. SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA →
40971 North Shore Drive/Hwy 38, Fawnskin, CA 92333, map
Distance: 332 mi / 4 hrs 55 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: San Diego Zoo, North Park, Balboa Park
What to Eat: Carnitas Snack Shack, Tacos El Gordo, Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in San Diego
We spent a whole year in San Diego and it’s still one of our favorite cities in the US. It has such a laid-back vibe, great restaurants, and plenty to explore. We headed to the beaches on some days, and up into the mountains on others. You can also spend a full day exploring museums and experience the diverse culture.
See More: 101 Things to Do in San Diego
15. SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
90 S W Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, map
Distance: 421 mi / 5 h 45 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Park City, Big Cottonwood Canyon, The Tabernacle
What to Eat: Purgatory, Red Iguana, Salt & Olive
Where to Stay: Hotels in SLC
Whether you want to spend your weekend outdoors, marvel at the amazing architecture, or just rest and relax, Salt Lake City has a wide variety of options to keep you busy and happy over a weekend trip.
MORE WEEKEND TRIP IDEAS UNDER 7 HOURS
- Parashant National Monument, AZ (135 mi / 4 h 31 min / map)
- Dixie National Forest, UT (182 mi / 2 h 40 min / map)
- Kanab, UT (198.7 mi NE / 3 hr 5 min / map)
- Duck Creek Village, UT (200 mi / 3 h 5 min / map)
- Cedar Breaks National Monument, UT (205 mi / 3 h 5 min / map)
- Storax Sedan Crater (107 mi / 1 h 50 min / map)
- Yucca Valley, CA (206 mi / 3 h 53 min / map)
- Palm Springs, CA (232 mi / 4 h 3 min / map)
- Lake Powell, UT (270 mi / 4 h 13 min / map)
- Rainbow Bridge National Monument, UT (268 mi / 4 h 12 min / map)
- Fishlake National Forest, UT (278 mi / 4 h 25 min / map)
- Salton Sea, CA (296 mi / 4 h 44 min / map)
- Phoenix, AZ (298 mi / 5 h 13 min / map)
- Salvation Mountain (314 mi / 5 h 4 min / map)
- Santa Barbara, CA (359 mi / 5 h 34 min / map)
- Pilot Peak, NV (388 mi / 6 h 24 min / map)
- Park City (427 mi / 6 h 10 min / map)
- Yosemite National Park (456 mi / 6 h 52 min / map)
- Moab (Arches & Canyonlands) (457 mi / 6 h 34 min / map)
- Sequoia National Park (380 mi / 6 h 3 min / map)
- Monument Valley, UT (395 mi / 6 h 13 min / map)
- Lake Tahoe (451 mi / 7 h 17 min / map) – over 7 hours but worth a weekend trip